Friday, May 23, 2008

Cleveland schools revive plans for new west-side high school -- sort of

Posted By on Fri, May 23, 2008 at 12:52 PM

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Schools CEO Eugene Sanders may be backing off of plans to start construction on a new west-side high school.
Recently, a long-standing debate about whether to build a new high school on Cleveland’s West Side has been revived. While parents have been pushing the cause for years — as they watch John Marshall High in West Park grow overcrowded and decrepit — their pleas have largely been ignored by school officials. In the face of plummeting enrollment citywide, the district doesn’t want to spend dwindling state construction funds on a new high school that no one will attend. But lately, officials have been forced to admit that the West Side is bucking the trend. ... According to the Bond Accountability Commission, a citizens watchdog group that monitors the district’s construction projects, enrollment at three West Side high schools has actually grown by 14 percent in the last decade. In fact, it’s so crowded at John Marshall that overflow kids have to be shuttled off to another school. This shocking bit of good news for the school district – the first since 1996, when a janitor discovered they were getting free cable at the district office -- has completely discombobulated school officials. Last week, they announced that plans for a West Side relief school were back on the table and that construction could begin right away. But in today’s PD, schools chief Eugene Sanders is already back-peddling on that timeline. In other words, it’s chaos as usual for the notoriously inept city schools. “They don’t know what to do,” says Sharon DeCarlo, who has two children at John Marshall and has been advocating for repairs there for years. “I feel like saying make up your mind and get it done before this building becomes uninhabitable.” -- Lisa Rab

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